No. 8 Duke 80, W. Kentucky 54
Reserve Tricia Liston smiled wide when pressed about her poor shooting start.
That's because it's no longer an issue.
Liston scored a career-high 22 points after going scoreless in her first two games this season and No. 8 Duke forced 35 turnovers against Western Kentucky in an 80-54 rout on Sunday.
''I thought about it a little bit. But shooters keep shooting and you can't just, I'm not going to go 0-for all season,'' Liston said. ''I just had to come ready for the next game and the next game until I came out stronger and better.''
Duke coach Joanne McCallie said Liston's shooting touch - she finished 7 of 10 from the field and 3 for 4 from 3-point range - is just the start.
''She's crafty, she's smart. I don't get concerned about the shooting stuff. I want her to play harder, more aggressive, get to the foul line more,'' McCallie said.
''Yes, she can shoot and she shot beautifully, but that's the tip of the iceberg for her. Honest to goodness. She can do so many things.''
Chloe Wells added 13 points and nine assists and Chelsea Gray scored 11 for the Blue Devils, who used relentless pressure as Western Kentucky (0-3) committed mistake after mistake.
''Every game you want to dictate the physical play or dictate the pressure. Today, I think we did that,'' McCallie said. ''We came out strong. We came out disruptive and that's important because it helps you get some things going offensively too.''
Duke (3-0) used a 14-0 run late in the first half to open up a 22-point lead just before halftime.
After a close victory in their opener at BYU, the Blue Devils cruised in their home opener with a 73-50 victory over Auburn on Friday and never trailed on Sunday.
The Lady Toppers are winless in five meetings with Duke and hadn't hosted a team ranked as high as the Blue Devils in 11 years.
Duke is back in the top 10, but has a young team with four starters that are sophomores or freshmen and five more coming off the bench, including the sophomore Liston.
''Off the court, our chemistry is really good. I think it's starting to show on the court,'' Wells said. ''We're young. We're going to make mistakes. We know that. We have a lot, I guess you could say hype on us, but we just play.''
Wells had back-to-back baskets early and pressured Western Kentucky's backcourt with four of her five steals in the first half. Shay Selby's 3-pointer gave Duke a 17-7 lead before Western Kentucky cut it to five at 22-17 after consecutive 3-pointers by Chaney Means.
But Liston, who had missed her first 12 shots of the season in Duke's first two games, scored the next eight points as Duke went on a 14-0 run to open up a big advantage.
''I had been struggling a little bit, but once I got in my groove and my teammates were finding me in the spots where I needed to be, it just felt natural to get going again,'' Liston said.
Western Kentucky, which was picked third in the East Division of the 12-team Sun Belt, committed seven turnovers and missed four shots during Duke's run and went 7 1/2 minutes without a field goal in its first matchup at home with a team ranked this high since hosting Louisiana Tech on Jan. 23, 2000.
By the time Alexis Govan ended the drought with a 3 in the final minute of the first half, the Lady Toppers trailed 40-21 at the break. Danay Fothergill and Chasity Gooch scored 11 each for the Lady Toppers.
''We want to get to a point where we can play with those kinds of teams,'' Means said.